Ask a Doctor: 'Why Do I Hear My Heartbeat in My Ears?'

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You've probably felt your heart in your chest after strenuous exercise, or measured your pulse by placing your fingers on your wrist or neck.

A less common – and sometimes surprising – sensation is actually hearing the 'whooshing' sound. sound of your heartbeat in your ears.

Fox News Digital reached out to two doctors to find out more about what's causing this and whether it's a cause for concern.

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Hearing your heartbeat in your ears — also known by its Latin name “pulsatile tinnitus” — isn't always a sign of a medical problem, but it may warrant a conversation with your doctor, according to Frederick James Meine, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Novant Health in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Hearing your heartbeat in your ears – also known by its Latin name 'pulsatile tinnitus' – is not always a sign of a medical problem. Still, it may warrant a conversation with your doctor. (iStock)

“A lot of people hear it sometimes, especially when they're lying on their side,” Meine told Fox News Digital.

What causes the condition?

Hearing your heartbeat could be related to ear problems such as earwax, fluid in the ear or something else hearing problemsMeine said.

The most common cause is Eustachian tube dysfunction. This is usually due to allergies, according to Jesus Lizarzaburu, MD, a primary care physician at TPMG Grafton Family Medicine in Yorktown, Virginia.

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“The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of your nose, and if it is blocked or doesn't open and close properly, it can cause the sound of your heartbeat to be heard in your ears,” he told Fox News Digital. .

Another culprit could be earwax buildup, which can also cause a blockage in the ear canal that makes it easier to hear the heartbeat, Lizarzaburu added.

Raised blood pressure is another cause, although less common.

Man ringing ears

Hearing your heartbeat may be related to ear problems such as earwax, fluid in the ear or other hearing problems, a doctor said. (iStock)

In rare cases, medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy drugsAspirin, certain antidepressants, quinine and antiviral drugs can cause tinnitus, a ringing in the ears that synchronizes with the heartbeat, Lizarzaburu noted.

“Extremely rare causes include an aneurysm (a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain) or a vascular tumor, which consists of a collection of blood vessels,” he added.

When should you seek medical help?

A thorough physical examination, including a check of blood pressure and an examination of the carotid arteries in the neck, is an important part of measuring overall cardiovascular health, Meine advised.

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“Additionally, ruling out anemia or hyperthyroidism, both of which can cause increased blood flow and potentially contribute to pulsatile tinnitus, could be evaluated with simple laboratory tests,” he said.

If someone experiences the condition occasionally, it is likely to be less of a concern, the doctor noted.

Woman heart doctor

A thorough physical examination, including a check of blood pressure and an examination of the carotid arteries in the neck, is an important part of gauging overall cardiovascular health, a doctor advised. (iStock)

“However, if it is persistent or has new onset, we would consider a complete history and physical examination,” he said.

From a cardiovascular perspective, if someone is experiencing pulsatile tinnitus or hearing their heartbeat in their own ears, Meine said it's important to rule out possible cardiovascular problems.

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The doctor would also ensure that the patient does not have a blockage or narrowing of the neck arteries, which could contribute to louder heart sounds in the ears and head, he said.

“I want to emphasize that most of us hear our heartbeat in our heads and ears from time to time, especially when our heart rate is increased while doing sportsMeine said.

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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